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Teenager charged with murder of 13-year-old girl in Florida

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Posted at 1:38 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 15:38:51-04

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Authorities say a teenager is facing a murder charge for the death of a 13-year-old girl who was at the center of a Florida Missing Child Alert on Sunday.

Tristyn Bailey was reported missing in the morning by her family. By that evening, authorities said a body believed to be Bailey was found. On Monday, Sheriff Robert Hardwick announced the arrest of a 14-year-old for second-degree murder.

Hardwick said the investigation is in its early stages and added that multiple crime scenes are involved, as well as several witnesses.

Bailey was last seen around 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning at the Durbin Amenity Center. At 10 a.m., her family reported her missing and a search began. Just before 5 p.m., the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a Florida Missing Child Alert. Around 6 p.m., a person taking part in the search found her body, according to Hardwick.

Hardwick said Bailey was found clothed in a wooded area. The sheriff said the medical examiner's office is investigating the cause of death.

Investigators added that when the cause of death is determined it will be shared with Bailey's family before they decide if they'll release it to the media.

According to the sheriff, the suspect and Bailey both attended Patriot Oaks Academy but it's unclear at this time if they were classmates.

Hardwick said the teenager in custody is the only suspect related to the death and there is no further threat to the community.

ABC Action News is not naming the suspect at this time because he is underage and it's unclear if he will be charged as an adult.

Lisette Lopez and Emily McCain at WFTS first reported this story.